Obama Administration Overturns Conscience Protection Rule

February 19, 2011

The long-anticipated decision by the Obama Administration to overturn the Bush Administration’s conscience protection regulation has finally occurred.  The Bush regulation was designed to protect health care personnel from being required to to participate in medical procedures that they find immoral.  The Obama regulation will apparently keep in place some protections against being forced to participate in abortions or sterilizations, but conscience rights advocates believe that this action will open the door to discrimination against those who decline involvement in a a variety of morally objectionable procedures.  According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “the final rule issued today eliminates important clarifications that would have helped in interpreting and enforcing longstanding federal statutes protecting the conscience rights of health care providers.  It also eliminates a regulatory requirement that recipients of federal funds certify compliance with those statutes.”